I find myself standing at the kitchen sink for extended periods throughout the day washing dirty dishes, bottles and cups. "What am I doing?" I often ask myself.
"Shouldn't I be out there making big bucks?"
"Isn't this the woman's duty?"
"I'm doing my wife a favour by HELPING HER with the chores and kids!"
I am sure many men out there have such thoughts. Somehow many of us still have that 19th century mindset stuck in us. Even though men are generally more involved these days, there is still an expectation that domestic and child-rearing duties are primarily the woman's.
I've heard guys proudly declare that they "help" their wives with domestic chores and "help to take care of the child". While it may sound like these guys are being kind and understanding, it highlights a fundamental belief that domestic and child-rearing duties are not part of a man's core responsibilities.
"It is increasingly more difficult to make families work.
The old days where women care for kids/house and the men bring home the bacon are long gone. More than 61% of families in the United States and 65% in Singapore are dual income families. It is no longer feasible to expect one parent to assume all domestic and child-rearing duties. The immense pressure will breed depression, unhappiness and even result in broken families.
In this day and age, how can we make families work?
1. Both parents embrace the children's needs as their core responsibility
2. Both husband and wife embrace the domestic duties as their core responsibility
3. Being a working parent that understands the stay-home parent is not an employee and does not get any annual leave, sick leave or renumeration.
4. Embrace the fact that working does not excuse us from child-rearing/domestic duties.
Why does this work?
When all hands are on deck and everyone works as a team, the burden is shared. When both parents are involved, children grow better and stronger bonds form. It really isn't all gloom and doom being a responsible parent/spouse. I thoroughly enjoyed being personally involved and having first-hand experience of raising my children. These are experiences you'll never get again, so embrace responsibility today!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.